Call for truck drivers to undergo testing for OSA
The study, published on Sunday in the Journal of Sleep, surveyed 517 long-haul drivers of B-doubles, semi-trailers and road trains in NSW and Western Australia.
It found 41% had undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), which increased drivers’ risk of crashing by two to seven-fold, the study said.
Existing laws mean truck drivers are required only to fill out a questionnaire about their sleep patterns in order to pass a medical to obtain their heavy vehicle licence.
However, researchers found that only 12% of truck drivers reported struggling with tiredness when completing the questionnaire, called the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS).
The drivers with OSA in the study were diagnosed using a take-home monitoring device, which has been proven to identify sleep apnoea accurately.
The report’s authors concluded that the questionnaires alone were not sufficient to assess drivers’ crash risk.